Pregnancy Exercises: Running While Pregnant

Running while pregnant is a controversial topic for many non-runners. But running while pregnant can actually be quite beneficial to both mom and baby. What should you expect if you choose to run throughout your pregnancy? Can you run during all three trimesters? And what are some great ways to monitor your body to ensure you and baby are safe?

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Preggie Pals
Pregnancy Exercises: Running While Pregnant

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[00:00:00]

[Theme Music]

Leigh-Ann Webster : Running while pregnant is really controversial amongst many non-runners. Instead of being harmful, a lot of people are surprised that running has a lot of benefits to both the mother and the baby. But is this type of exercise best for you? I'm Leigh-Ann Webster, founder of 52 Healthy Weeks, providing fitness coaching and nutrition for women. Today, we're busting the myths about running while pregnant. This is Preggie Pals, episode 55.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Sunny Gault : Welcome to Preggie Pals, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Preggie Pals is your weekly online, on the go support group for expecting parents and those hoping to become pregnant. I'm your host, Sunny Gault. Congratulations to our listener, Samantha Helstrom. Samantha subscribed to our Preggie Pals newsletter, and each month one of our lucky subscribers wins a free one month subscription to the Preggie Pals Club. Samantha is our most recent winner. Of course, our club members get all of our archived episodes, plus bonus content after each new show, and giveaways and discounts. You will also get a free subscription to Pregnancy Magazine. Be sure to download the latest issue of Pregnancy Magazine to check out our full page ad. And you can see our our website, PreggiePals.com, for more information on our membership program. We have a special Mother's Day giveaway going on now, throughout the month of May, we're acknowledging all the amazing moms out there. You can win one of three prizes, one of the prizes is a safety first advanced solution collection, it includes a special thermometer, nasal aspirator, oral care set, hair brushing comb and nail clippers. You can also win the new Moby GO Carrier, which has all the amazing benefits that the Moby Wrap has, it's a brand new carrier on the market, it is convenient, great for parents on the go with slightly older children. And the other prize is a peak-away, it's a 4 in 1 essentials nursing kit, I love this bag! It is so convenient, it's innovative, it is a purse combo with a nursing pillow, removable case and even a nursing cover for those of you who like to cover up when you're out in public. So you can win one of these amazing prizes again, go to our website and sign up today. So let's meet some of our panelists here today. If you haven't been tuning in to Preggie Pals, you don't know this yet, so I'll make the announcement again – I am pregnant, with our third baby, we just found out a couple of weeks ago, so we are brand new pregnant, it just happened. So a little bit about myself, I am 35 years old, and I actually haven't had my first appointment yet, so I don't know when I'm due. I will say that it's supposed to be, if you check out Babycenter.com and all the other sites out there, in the beginning of December. I have two little boys already, and I do know this is going to be a caesarean, due to some complications from my first pregnancy. Amy, what about you?

Amy Askin : I am Amy, a proud mother of three little girls, an eight year-old, a three year-old, and a newborn. She is delightful, she's actually sitting on my lap and nursing as we speak.

Sunny Gault : That's awesome.

Amy Askin : But I am a writer and blogger at Belovedatmosphere.com, and I'm happy to be here.

Sunny Gault : Oh, you know what, we forgat to say how much experience we have running.

Amy Askin : Oh, I've been running as long as I can remember. I am a competitive soccer player, and really enjoy doing yoga as well, so running is just kind of part of what I do to stay fit and keep up with everything that I'm trying to do sports-wise. So do you want to talk about how much I ran yet?

Sunny Gault : Why don't you tell us how much you ran where you were pregnant?

Amy Askin : While pregnant with my first, I played soccer until five and a half or six months, and then with my second I didn't quite play as long as four months, I wasn't feeling good, and whenever I felt good I kept going, whenever I didn't feel, I kind of scaled back. And so I was having some issues, and then with my last, my little darling sitting in my lap, I played until five and a half or six months again, so I was very lucky.

Sunny Gault : I'm impressed. OK, and joining us on the phone is Michelle, welcome to the show, Michelle!

Michelle Ristuccia : Hi! Thanks! My name is Michelle Ristuccia, I am a Physician Assistant in Providence, Rhode Island. I have a two year-old daughter, who is an absolute gem, and while pregnant I ran three to five times a week, I also taught a class a week, and actually got my last five miles in the day my daughter was born. I've been a long time runner, I can't remember when I exactly started, but I remember running back as young as 12, 13 years of age. And it kind of gets me into my place, probably the only time that I'm able to slow down and reflect and just enjoy being.

Sunny Gault : OK, well let's talk to Leigh-Ann here in the studio, of course, Leigh-Ann is our expert today. Leigh-Ann, I want to get your perspective, did you run when you were pregnant?

Leigh-Ann Webster : You know what, it's funny, I've been a runner since high-school, and I actually did not run during pregnancy, it had nothing to do with my feelings about running while pregnant, it was simply that I had really bad morning sickness, and I just didn't feel well when I ran, however, I felt really well when I did other forms of exercises. I exercised pretty much everyday until I delivered. And I found that that was the one thing that got rid of my morning sickness for a brief 45 minutes to an hour.

Sunny Gault : Nice.

Leigh-Ann Webster : Running didn't work.

Sunny Gault : Everybody's different. We'll talk more about that after the break.

[Theme Music] [Featured Segment: Exercise Clothes]

[00:06:14]

Sunny Gault : Today, we are continuing our series on pregnancy exercises, and we all know exercise during pregnancy is important, and it helps to stay comfortable while you're exercising as well. Margery, from For Two Fitness Maternity is joining us on the phone. Hi Margery! Welcome to Preggie Pals!

Margery : Hi, thanks for having me!

Sunny Gault : Absolutely! Well Margery, what led to you creating your company, For Two Fitness?

Margery : I was really at natural evolution when I became pregnant, in 2009, I'm a fitness enthusiast and my husband is an entrepeneur, and it became very apparent early on that there were no good choices, nothing flattering, nothing with true performance materials, and nothing really that was celebratory of pregnancy. So we created our own.

Sunny Gault : So what are some of the most popular articles on your site, and what are the things that women really like about those items?

Margery : What people really like about our items is that it gives them confidence. The designs really help moms celebrate rather than have that insecurity that we often have early in pregnancy, when you are not obviously pregnant yet, but your body is changing and you may need to slow down and turn down your workouts. I think women who are really used to being very very active have a little crisis of confidence, and it just gives them the fun back. Our most popular items are probably our Racerback tanks and our Capri pants, because they are seasonless, and they are totally customizable, they have built in support, we all know how your bust can really change quite a bit during pregnancy, there is nothing built in that you will outgrow. So it's perfect, whether you're four weeks, forty weeks or even postpartum.

Sunny Gault : So what are some of the sayings on the shirts, I know when you go to your website you can see them, and I actually think this is such a great idea, because I remember working out during my pregnancies, and especially when you are in that time period where people can't quite tell if you're pregnant, sometimes you just want to announce, “Hey, this isn't a big lunch, this is my baby”. So what are some of the sayings?

Margery : Well, we have a line for just about anything people would like to do. We have “Yoga for 2”, we have “Running for 2”, which has four feet, all kinds of little graphics that imply the pregnancy, we have a really popular one called “Six pack abs”, and it has a six pack of baby bottles on the belly, and we also have a signature line that doesn't have any graphics, because not everybody's into that, almost everybody is, but some people prefer plane, and then they get the benefit of our great designs and a great fit, without necessarily saying something that they're not necessarily comfortable broadcasting to the world.

Sunny Gault : Sure. That is so cute. So we talked about this a little bit earlier, but our bodies our constantly changing when we're pregnant, so how does the sizing work for the products on your site?

Margery : Unless you're carrying twins, people should purchase these on the pre-pregnancy sizing, if you are four or six pre-pregnancy, you are going to be a size small, and we do have a size chart on our website, our customer service staff are happy to answer questions, but essentially, you can expect that all of our items will fit you, the size and the length is specificly designed, they're very strategically, it will look great when you still have a flat stomach, and it will look great when you are about pop, and then it will look great when you are wearing at home from the hospital. It will fit the whole time. And the pants are the same, they have a three way adjustable role, you can pull them up over your full belly, you can roll them down underneath the belly, or have it midwise, so throughout the pregnancy, as your body changes, the clothes change with you and pop right back to whenever you want it.

Sunny Gault : Exercise clothes can be very expensive, in fact maternity clothes can be very expensive as well, how do your prices compare?

Margery : I think people will find that our prices are very reasonable, when they consider that we are just in line with other high end performance companies, and we certainly do not mark up additionally for maternity. I know we have all had that experience where you think that a simple maternity top or tank is so much money than a regular top, and we don't do that, our clothing is price appropriate for performance fitness appealers, we don't mark up for maternity, and we're not trimester specific, so people will get quite a bit of bargain out of this.

Sunny Gault : How can our listeners purchase these items?

Margery : Well, very easily, you can just come on our website, it's FortwoFitness.com, you spell it out “fortwo”, just like running for two, or eating for two, and we have a special offer going on now, where if folks in the United States place an order of $100, we're going to ship priority mail for free. You'll get it immediately and there's no shipping cost, and if you're international, we can't make that offer, but we can deliver anywhere in the world.

Sunny Gault : That's wonderful. Well ForTwoFitness.com is offering a special discount to all of our Preggie Pals listeners. When purchasing items through their website, simply enter promo code “MommyMedia”, and I'll spell that out for you, “m-o-m-m-y-m-e-d-i-a”, for 20% off your purchase. Well Margery, thank you so much for being on our show, Preggie Pals, and for creating a product that makes us pregnant moms feel more comfortable and confident!

Margery : It's my pleasure, thank you for having me!

[Theme Music]

[00:11:27]

Sunny Gault : Today on Preggie Pals we are talking about running while you're pregnant, and our expert, as you already heard from today, it Leigh-Ann Webster, founder of 52HealthyWeeks, which provides fitness coaching and nutrition for women. Welcome, Leigh-Ann!

Leigh-Ann Webster : Thank you! Thanks for having me.

Sunny Gault : Is running during pregnancy safe? And if it is, great, but when is it not safe? 'Cause I'm assuming this is probably going to vary from person and pregnancy, right?

Leigh-Ann Webster : Absolutely, I think that's a great question. Theoretically, is running during pregnancy safe? Absolutely. There have been so many studies out there that measure the heart rate of the mother and what's going on physiologically in her body, and the heart rate of the baby, is the baby's heart rate increasing while the mother is running? What does that do to the baby, what does it do to the baby while the mother is now resting, completed the run, and everything shows that it is safe. The two things you want to consider though are: were you running prior to getting pregnant? If you were not running prior to getting pregnant, it's probably not the best time to start. However, if you weren't exercising during pregnancy, every study that I've read and every doctor that I've talked to has said that it's encouraged that you do start at least walking, doing some form of exercise, if you weren't prior, but don't start running if you haven't been a runner. If you are a runner, then go ahead and continue running until it doesn't feel good, or you don't feel well. So if you start to cramp or bleed, then you'll definitely want to back off the running and see your doctor. And there are also four things that you want to look for if you are a runner that's going to continue running. Injury, if you have any kind of an injury, stop running until that injury clears; disease, if there is some sort of a disease that you have, obviously, it's not recommended that you continue running during pregnancy, because that will take too much from your body; if you're experiencing any type of pain, or any bleeding, and obviously there are different degrees of bleeding, so you'll want to stop running and see your doctor, and hear what he or she says about that.

Sunny Gault : This is a sensitive subject for a lot of people, and I can only imagine that people, especially non-runners, as we mentioned in the intro, are looking at this going, “That just can't be safe!” Why do we have that in our head, because someone is running and there is some bouncing movement? We think that we're jerking the baby around? Where does this come from, that this is bad?

Leigh-Ann Webster : Actually, I think you just hit it, I think it's because of the physical act of running. The baby bouncing, and the stomach bouncing, and the potential for falling, and people just get fairly judgemental about that. I think that a critical thing to look at is how comfortable is the mom doing the activity, and if she's comfortable with it, then all studies show that it's perfectly fine, and not only fine, it's safe and encouraged, it's great.

Amy Askin : I experienced that first hand as a soccer player, I manage a couple teams here in San Diego, and I continue to play, as I mentioned, throughout my pregnancies, and so I would have a couple of friends who were dear friends of mine, and I think that they were just genuinely concerned, and they would stop playing right when they were pregnant, and for me, I was still training and still running on the side and playing soccer, and I just finally, with number three here, said, “Look, I never gave you a hard time about you quitting, and I'd appreciate it if you would respect my desire to keep going”, and I had cleared it with my midwifes, and physicians, and everything, it's not as if I was doing it against health concerns or anything like that. Each of my girls is very healthy and were healthy when they were born, and I think had I not done that, it would have been more detrimental. I think Michelle, you alluded to the fact that it's my release time, it's my down time, it's my thinking time, my time. And it's so important to decompress and have that, so it's such a great stress relief for us.

Sunny Gault : Michelle, how did people react to you when you were running out until you gave birth to your baby?

Michelle Ristuccia : I have to say I kind of had the feeling that every women that I have encountered would have a child expert in her own right, and a lot of people who thought I was running and spinning had an opinion, and their opinion was such that I was doing the wrong thing. And I think that one thing that people fail to recognize is the mental health aspect, and that you have to make changes for your pregnancy, and you have to listen to your body. So if you go out for a run and it doesn't feel good, well then you say OK, I'll just turn this into a walk today, or I need to change my pace. So I would have to agree in that I definitely came across some very opinionated people who thought that I was doing the wrong thing, but in talking to my physician and listening to my body, I know that I was safe, and just giving birth to a happy healthy baby was living proof to that.

Sunny Gault : Did you have any thoughts of not running and not doing the exercise? Or was it always something that you had planned to do, Michelle?

Michelle Ristuccia : Honestly, I didn't early have an opinion about it, because it was very much a part of who I am, so when I approached my pregnancy, I didn't say, “Oh, I am going to stop running, I'm going to change”, I said, “OK, this is kind of what I'll do and if it isn't right, at that point I'll make a change”. So I guess I did plan on continuing to exercise, because I didn't really planned to stop.

Amy Askin : That was exactly my experience, too, Michelle. It didn't even cross my mind, because it's so much a part of my life, you know? And so, when people started saying it to me, I was kind of taking it back more than anything, they were like, “When are you going to stop?”, and was like, “Why would I stop? It's who I am”, so it's interesting to hear that from you too, that's good.

Michelle Ristuccia : And the things that I've dealt with, how do I deal with my changing body, how do I deal with this growing belly and keep it kind of stable? And then I made changes, I decided around six and a half months that I wouldn't run outside anymore, just so that I wouldn't be too far from home, my car or people, should something come up. And you just listen to common sense.

Sunny Gault : It's a good point. Leigh-Ann, what are some of the benefits of running, to both mom and baby?

Leigh-Ann Webster : There are a tone of benefits. One of the studies that I came across is that the babies that are bornto running mothers are just a little bit lower in birth weight, and that can actually be – but within good standards – but that can actually be really beneficial for the baby later in life, because studies are showing that babies that are overweight perse or larger when they are born often will have obesity issues later in life. The other thing is that the mothers on average are about eight pounds less, and they give birth, they also – I kind of think of running or doing any other type of physical activity when you're pregnant, it's like you're training for your own olympics. Because on the day of delivery, it's like the Olympic games, right? Everybody's there, they are cheering for you, you have to give the race of a lifetime, you have to push hard, you have to be on target and focus and do your best. And the baby does too. So I just think that – I know – when you exercise, it creates a stronger mother, and a stronger baby for dealing with that olympic day.

Sunny Gault : Yeah. I would think, especially for labor and delivery stuff, when you're pushing.

Amy Askin : Just going through transition and all of the parts of birthing. I had three all natural child births, no interventions whatsoever, and I totally attributed to staying fit and doing yoga, and making sure that I exercise my body in preparation for birth. So had I not done that, I don't want to know how it would have gone. I got three beautiful births, and I attribute it a lot to staying physically active and running while I was pregnant.

Leigh-Ann Webster : And the studies also show that the babies tend to tolerate the stresses of labor and delivery much better when the mother was an avid exerciser or runner. And what I mean by “avid” is that they were working out and running for about four to five time a week, for at least 40 minutes. So it's just really beneficial, as long as you're feeling good and comfortable. Well, nobody's really comfortable when they run, or when they're pregnant. As long as you are into it, your intuition is telling you it's OK.

Sunny Gault : What are some of the potential risks, Leigh-Ann, of running?

Leigh-Ann Webster : One would be falling down. I mean it's a very obvious risk, but it's definitely a risk you need to pay attention to.

Sunny Gault : Well, your balance is a little off, you've got to compensate.

Amy Askin : Joints loosen up a lot.

Sunny Gault : Yeah, the relaxin in your body.

Leigh-Ann Webster : Exactly. Obviously, to avoid that, you want to run in environments where they are more stable, on the road as opposed to a rocky trail, would probably be a better choice, and stable new shoes. Another risk would be that if you have a tendency to go into early labor, and you'll only know that if you've had multiple births, but if you have a tendency, then your doctor may want to limit the running towards the end of your pregnancy. Because it could induce early labor in those women who deal with that, or who have experienced that. And then another risk would be dehydration. You already need to drink more when you're pregnant, but when you add in exercise, and the potential for hotter weather, you definitely want to make sure that you are staying hydrated and that you are eating within at least 30 minutes of doing the run.

Sunny Gault : Before or after, or both?

Leigh-Ann Webster : You want to eat before, obviously, one to two hours before would be fine. But then you want to replenish your body within 30 minutes, so basically, when you run, think of it as like you're breaking down your body when you run, and then you want to build your body back up, by adding in really nutrient foods.

Amy Askin : The healthy stuff, not the Gatorade, because I had morning sickness, and I would eat Gatorade, 'cause I wasn't thinking about it, maybe Gatorade or whatever other stuff they had, like electrolytes stuff, and it's not good, it made me feel really sick, so I needed to listen to my body, and I didn't think about that.

Leigh-Ann Webster : Playing on the dehydration and Gatorade, something that I did, that I read in a nutrition book for athletes, but I applied it to my pregnancy, was I would make my own Gatorade, which was water, pineapple juice, orange juice and just a tiny bit of salt. And I still do that today on long bike rides and stuff, or if I'm doing a really long run, I make my own stuff.

Sunny Gault : What is a tiny bit of salt?

Leigh-Ann Webster : Oh, a tiny bit of salt would be about a pinch.

Amy Askin : Sodium is what depletes in your body when you are dehydrated, and so you actually have to have salt, because it holds on to the water.

Sunny Gault : Yeah, that's interesting. I love how you make your own stuff.

Amy Askin : Yeah, that's cool.

Sunny Gault : So we talked about this a little bit earlier, but I know Leigh-Ann, you mentioned for you it was uncomfortable to run when pregnant. What were some of the things that you noticed that just didn't kind of work for you?

Leigh-Ann Webster : Well, one, my boobs became the size of watermelons.

Sunny Gault : So the bouncing up and down of your breasts, yeah.

Leigh-Ann Webster : And now it's just really uncomfortable. I also carried my baby it seemed like 100% in the front, which was great for my butt, upon recovery. But let me tell you, when you're running with a big watermelon, it was just really uncomfortable, I just felt like there is a lot of bouncing going on. And early on in pregnancy I definitely could have run, but I just chose to take spin classes and do the elliptical, and continue with light weight training because it was working for me, and because I really did suffer with extreme nausea, so the running and moving around that much didn't work for me.

Sunny Gault : And Michelle, I'm assuming that your situation is a little bit different, since you continued to run. So was it more comfortable for you, running?

Michelle Ristuccia : I can't necessarily say it was more comfortable, since it was definitely different, I'm more comfortable running non-pregnant. But it wasn't so bad that I wasn't able to run. It was just a matter of getting used to the changes that my body was going through, and again, listening to it. There were some days when I felt a little tight or I didn't feel like I was up for a run, and on those days I would use the elliptical or a fitness class, but as my body grew, it became a little less comfortable.

Sunny Gault : One thing that I've been thinking about as we were talking about running, sometimes people have different ideas of what running actually is, I mean, is it jogging, is it walking at a faster pace? Maybe we should define that.

Leigh-Ann Webster : That's a great question, Sunny. Running is considered a weight baring activity. You are lifting your feet up off the ground, a little bit higher than you would when you're walking, and your knees are bending a little bit more, and walking would be considered non-weight baring activity. So with the running there is all types, there is jogging, and then there is cross-jogging, and some might be considered...

Sunny Gault : Sprinting?

Leigh-Ann Webster : A long run, and then there is an all out sprint, where your heart rate is at 95 to 100% of its maximum. So that's how I would explain running.

Sunny Gault : So when we come back, we're going to talk about how you can monitor your body to ensure both you and baby are safe. Plus, can you run too much while pregnant? We'll be right back.

[Theme Music]

[00:27:00]

Sunny Gault : Welcome back, today we are busting the myths about running while pregnant. Leigh-Ann Webster, of 52HealthyWeeks, is our expert. Leigh-Ann, how should women be monitoring their bodies to ensure safety while running?

Leigh-Ann Webster : I think there are two things you can do. One of them it's something that we refer to as the rate of perceived exertion. And we'll just keep it simple by saying 1 to 10. Ten is, I'm doing and all out sprint, there is no way I can talk, there is no way I go any faster and there is no way I can breath any harder. Unless you are an olympian, that is really, has all physicians surrounding her during this, I wouldn't suggest doing the all out sprints. Rather, I would do what is called the talk test. So if you can run and still talk to the person next to you, than you are probably at what would be considered a safe zone. And your cardio zone is when you are training between 65 to 85% of your maximum heart rate. I believe that you should probably stay more at the 65 to 70% while pregnant, just for a variety of reasons, so you don't completely wear yourself out, so that if you were to fall down, you're not falling at a faster pace, and just comfort level, I mean, you are running for two, and I think that that's what needs to be kept in mind.

Amy Askin : And I think your body talks to you too, I think Michelle has alluded to that, I would get kind of light headed or feel, it's not like the endorphin, you definitely get like a nausea kind of thing you were saying, and I get shortness of breath and things like that. So my body tells me when I need to kind of scale back. I think it talks to you.

Leigh-Ann Webster : Absolutely.

Sunny Gault : Michelle, what did you notice when you were running, how did your body tell you when you should slow down, or when you should cool it?

Michelle Ristuccia : I never used the calculations of my heart rate, I just used rate of perceived exertion. Like you said, if I can carry on a conversation, or if could sing along this music, than I would think I was OK. Certainly, breathing becomes a little more difficult, because you have more pressure on your diaphragm, and you are carrying extra weight and your heart is having to work harder to push around the extra blood that you have. So your endurance will change during pregnancy, and I don't think it's safe to go into exertion, perhaps safe isn't the best way to put that, but I don't think that you should go into pregnancy thinking that you will run at seven months with the same fast rate that you are running before. Since you have to work with all those changes that your body is going through.

Sunny Gault : That's really good advice. Can you run too much, Leigh-Ann, even if you are a trained runner and you've been doing this, is there some point, I mean can you run every day, if you usually did two runs a day, can you do all of this, or does it get to a point where it's too much?

Leigh-Ann Webster : That's a good question, can you run every day? Well, I would never tell any of my clients to exercise every single day, 'cause I think that whether you are pregnant or not pregnant, you always need to have one rest day, maybe two, depending on how condition of an athlete you are. Can you run too much? Yeah, absolutely. Because you are creating a new life inside of you, and your body needs to have the nutrients and the energy to do that. And when you run, especially long distances, you're depleting those. So I think it's just important to listen to your body and to really pay attention to how you feel. And I think if you do that, then you will know where that cut-off line is, and where you need to take it back, and maybe take a rest day, or instead of a one hour run, do a 45 minute run.

Sunny Gault : What are some ways pregnant women can reduce potential injuries when running? Because we're dealing with different things, like we said earlier, balance is a little bit off, and our bodies are just changing.

Amy Askin : Get that super-sports bra.

Leigh-Ann Webster : Yeah, I would say go to R&R, 'cause they have some of the toughest sports bra out there, make R&R your first stop. I would also – I've talked to a lot of women who ran during pregnancy, and as they entered the last part of their second trimester, they start wearing the support belt. And for them that really helped. Obviously, good running gear. Good shoes, stable shoes, and I like the idea of staying close to home, so maybe even as you near that third trimester, getting on a treadmill, and if you are at the gym on treadmill and something goes wrong, there will be plenty of people to notice that you need a little bit of help. And another thing, just to stay safe, hydration. And, like you said, if you feel light headed, don't push through, that's not the time to push through.

Sunny Gault : Leigh-Ann, for people that are listening to this episode that are runners, they were runners prior to getting pregnant, they are runners now, they would like to continue to run during their pregnancy, manny people like to do these long runs, and when you do that, whether it's like a marathon or just something you do on your own, your body needs some time to recuperate. So is there any advice or information that you think people need to know about how your body recuperates when you're pregnant?

Leigh-Ann Webster : Like I said before, you are now running for two. One of the things you have to remember is that relaxin is a hormone that is being released into your body that causes you to become more flexible. And a lot of runners will stretch after their run, so I think it's important to know that you want to just be mindful of how much pressure you're putting on your joints and how far you are stretching. Stretching is part of the recovery process. Your heart rate needs to come down, to a normal level, and that means that you're going to want to run and then walk for a block, to finish it off, and let that heart rate come down. Your baby's heart rate also needs to come down, because I don't think I mentioned that your baby's heart rate does become elevated when you work out.

Sunny Gault : Wow, that's interesting. It makes sense.

Leigh-Ann Webster : Which is perfectly fine for the baby, but that baby's heart rate needs to come down just as much as yours does.

Sunny Gault : And can the baby's heart rate come down just as quickly, or there are things that we need to keep in mind with that?

Leigh-Ann Webster : To be honest, I don't know the answer to that, it's a pretty scientific answer. And actually in all of the studies that I read, I never ran into that.

Sunny Gault : It's amazing how our bodies are so in synch with our babies, so I would imagine that.

Leigh-Ann Webster : Yes. And then your blood pressure also needs to come down to a normal level. So in order for all that to happen, take some time to walk at the end of your run, and then when you get home, carve out, schedule time for recovery, rehydration, and eating. Because those are incredibly important things, and you don't want to get your body to a point where your glycogen stores in your liver are depleted, and your baby and you are not getting the nutrients and your blood sugars too low.

Sunny Gault : Well, thank you Leigh-Ann for joining us today!

Leigh-Ann Webster : Oh, you're welcome! I love coming, thank you!

Sunny Gault : For more information about Leigh-Ann, our expert, as well as our panelists, visit the episode page on our website. This conversation continues for members of our Preggie Pals Club. After the show, we're going to talk about this interesting question, can running actually make your baby smarter? Yes, you heard me right. Leigh-Ann is going to explain more. If you want to join our club, there is more information on our website, PreggiePals.com.

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Sunny Gault : Before we wrap today's show, here is Jennifer Durbin, with some pregnancy tips for the clueless chick!

Jennifer Durbin : Hi! I'm Jennifer Durbin, the author of Pregnancy Tips for The Clueless Chick, and the mother of two wonderful little boys. I've got some great tips for you for planning your maternity leave. Believe it or not, it's never too early to start planning your maternity leave. And if you plan to go back to work, you'll want to start thinking about day care sooner rather than later. In some cities, you may need to register your little one for daycare when you're only 12 weeks pregnant. So plan ahead. Before you let your boss know that you are expecting, it's a good idea to have your maternity leave plan all worked out. So start reading your company's leave policy, including short-term disability, and look into FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act. Your HR department or trusted co-worker who has taken maternity leave are other fabulous resources. When you talk to your boss, he or she will likely want to know when you are due, how long you plan to be on maternity leave, and if you'll be returning to your current work schedule. So make sure you and your partner have worked through all of these details beforehand. But keep in mind that once you hold that little bundle of joy in your arms, all of your carefully layed plans may be thrown right out the window. If you do decide to go back to work, don't underestimate how challenging your transition back may be. Not only will you be readjusting to work, you'll also be adjusting to your baby's new childcare routine. You should also keep in mind that your first week back at your office will be very draining, so it's a good idea to plan to take Friday off to recoup. The worst thing you can do is to run yourself rag with trying to do everything. So plan for that extra day of vacation. You can also save yourself a bit of transition stress by having the little one start daycare the day before you go back to work. That way you have plenty of time to ease into your new normal. But most importantly, take into consideration the financial implications of your plan, so that you're fully prepared for what lies ahead. For more great tips, visit CluelessChick.com.

Sunny Gault : That wraps up our show for today, we appreciate you listening to Preggie Pals. Don't forget to check out our sister shows, Parent Savers, for parents of newborns, infants or toddlers, and our show The Boob Group, for moms who breastfeed their babies. Next week, we're talking about caesarean sections, how can you heal from a birth experience that didn't turn out the way you intended? This is Preggie Pals, your pregnancy, your way.

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[Disclaimer]

This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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